‘Investigatory Powers Tribunal finds IOPC to have acted unlawfully and delivers important ruling on what amounts to an ‘interception’

In a judgment published on 30 December 2022, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal found that the IOPC acted unlawfully in obtaining the communications data of a serving police officer. The Tribunal found serious fault on the part of the IOPC, leaving open the question of whether the fault was careless or dishonest.

In relation to the subsequent extraction of data from the phone, the Tribunal found that there was no individual fault by the Metropolitan Police Service, which had acted in good faith and at the behest of the IOPC.

The Tribunal also agreed with the Metropolitan Police Service that a disconnected mobile phone handset is not part of a telecommunications system under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, resolving a longstanding legal uncertainty.

The full judgment of the Tribunal can be read here

Nicholas Yeo and Ryan Dowding acted for the Claimant.

Ruby Shrimpton acted for the Metropolitan Police Service, led by Neil Sheldon KC of 1 Crown Office Row.

3rd January 2023